Menasheh Idafar raced to a pair of superb National Class victories during today’s Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series action at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium to open up a four point lead in the championship standings.
Winning round 16 this morning, Friday, 30th July, in style after a highly impressive drive through the order into 12th place overall – significantly nine positions clear of class rival James Cole – Menasheh went on to secure his second success of the day in round 17 with another deserved top 12 finish.
“It’s my first ever time at Spa so I’m delighted to win both races”, said the 19-year-old, reflecting on his eighth and ninth victories of the campaign, “The track is unbelievable, it’s an amazing place and I’m really pleased we’ve gone so well. The team gave me a great car and I was able to make good progress, especially in the first race – it’s been an amazing day.”
The opening encounter at the 4.35-mile track produced by far the most impressive performance from the T-Sport driver. Starting on the National Class pole position thanks to his second fastest time in qualifying, Menasheh did lose out to Cole at the beginning of the 30-minute race but remained tight to the tail of his rival’s similar Mugen-Honda powered Dallara.
Both drivers moved up the overall order as some of the International Class drivers fell back and on the fourth tour Menasheh seized the class lead. Ending the lap in 14th position overall, two spots clear of Cole, he then got ahead of T-Sport’s International Class runner Alex Brundle on lap five and moved into 12th past Formula 3 Euroseries regular Alexander Sims on the seventh tour.
Posting quicker and quicker times as round 16 progressed Menasheh comfortably pulled away from the cars behind and set the fastest National Class lap by some margin. His time of 2m17.538 seconds placed him within just seven 10ths of a second of the quickest managed by outright podium finisher Rupert Svendsen-Cook and it was also 1.1 seconds faster than Cole’s best effort.
Starting the round 17 ‘sprint’ race from 12th on the grid by virtue of his fantastic result in the opening encounter, the British-born Bahraini was run much closer by Cole in the fight for the National Class win but he raced well again to secure his second victory of the day.
Driving extremely competitively against the International Class runners and Invitational entrants, Menasheh saw off a challenge from Nathanael Berthon a couple of laps from the finish to take the chequered flag in 12th place overall – out of 26 starters. His best lap of 2m19.175 seconds was again the fastest in the National Class.
The 18th round of the 2010 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series is scheduled to get underway at 13.35 (local time) tomorrow, Saturday, 31st July, at Spa-Francorchamps.